The following are Mayor Bloomberg’s remarks as delivered at Bellevue Hospital this morning:
“Good morning. Here we are again at Bellevue Hospital with Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, Chief of Department Joseph Esposito, Chief of the Housing Bureau Joanne Jaffe, Chief of Internal Affairs Charles Campisi, Dr. Eli Kleinman, the NYPD’s Chief Surgeon, and President of the Patrolmen Benevolent Association Pat Lynch.
“The Commissioner and I just visited Police Officer Brian Groves, a seven-year veteran of the NYPD who was shot this morning. And Ray and I talked to his wife Nicole – they have two very young children, the youngest just two weeks old. Thank God they will see their father soon and they will grow up with the love that every child should have around them.
“This comes a day after MTA Police Officer John Barnett shot and killed an assailant who stabbed him in the eye at the Jamaica, Queens Long Island Rail Road Station.
“Commissioner Kelly is going to fill you in on the details, but Officer Groves and his partner were conducting a patrol inside a public housing facility in the Lower East Side of Manhattan after reports of criminal activity in the stairwells. They encountered a man in the stairwell and saw he had a gun. The suspect fled and they pursued him down the stairs.
“The suspect turned and fired at the officers, striking Officer Groves once. Officer Groves returned fire, and we don’t know whether the suspect was hit, but the suspect at this point in time remains at large.
“I think it’s fair to say only pure luck and our prayers prevented this situation from becoming a tragedy, as the bullet struck Officer Groves’ bullet-resistant vest, which kept him alive and will allow him to see his little girls again.
“As you may know, the NYPD conducts regular patrols inside public housing facilities, like Seward Park. Those patrols have helped bring crime down in public housing by 20 percent since 2001.
“Ray, you want to give more specifics?”
[Police Commissioner Kelly Speaks]
“Let me say something else about what Ray just touched on – getting guns off the streets. As everyone knows, it was on July 4, 1776 that our nation’s Declaration of Independence was adopted, though historians would note the New York delegation hadn’t voted on it yet. But the very next morning they got to work governing our new nation.
“So on July 5, 1776 – that’s 236 years ago at this exact moment – copies of the Declaration of Independence that had been printed overnight were dispatched by the members of the Continental Congress far and wide, to commanders of the Continental troops and a variety of other groups around the colonies.
“The members of the Continental Congress didn’t rest on their laurels. They got down to business and did what needed to be done back in those days. If only the Members of our Congress today – and all of Washington – were remotely as industrious.
“Instead of taking action on the most serious problems head on, instead of doing something to stem the wash of illegal guns over the streets of every city and town in our country, we have paralyzing squabbling and gridlock that may be worse than any other period in our nation’s history.
“Actions have consequences. Inaction has consequences as well. And today we see the results again of Washington’s allergy to doing anything, no matter how small, to help keep our streets safe.
“And I will say it is made worse yet by judges here in New York City that appear bound and determined to do everything possible to handcuff our police officers and stop them from doing their jobs, and making all of us less safe by doing so.
“Another shot police officer. Another family at a hospital. Officer Brian Groves was saved because of his vest this morning. Thank God for that, because there are few people that are protecting him. We are some of them, but the judges on the bench and the people in Washington are certainly not among that group.”